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Discussion in 'Michigan Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by LabtechLewis, Jan 3, 2021.
What a bunch of NERDS!
Another value gained by the cooperative is sharing pics with neighbors. Granted, you don't need a cooperative to be friendly and communicative. It gives some insight into how the bucks are traveling, though. Anyway, the two biggest properties are adjacent to one another and bisected by a paved road. We see deer crossing this road from time to time. We've gotten pictures of bucks on the south side and killed them on the north side and vice-versa. The smaller property is 1.5 miles away. We might have gotten a picture of a shared buck this past year, but it would be the first time that I've noticed it.
Yes, I am eagerly awaiting an opportunity to talk with more Co-Op friends and find out how their seasons went, how many does were removed and if they think there is still an abundance. We already know how Steven J feels. We've heard Luv2 say that you need to remove 40% just to maintain status quo. That's a lot. No, we'll never the know the numbers for sure, and might make some mistakes along the way, but if we can capture the trends and respond accordingly, I think it will benefit all stakeholders.
Good points you're making. I'll just clarify that I'm only recording the deer I personally observe from the stand in order to see the changes over time. There are instances when another hunter is on the same property and obviously seeing different deer than I am. I don't spreadsheet that info, but it does speak more to the resident population. For instance, one night in late December Jeff and I hunted the same piece. I counted 20 from the stand and he saw 30. He figured 10 of those were unique, based on when and where he saw them. I only entered my deer in the database, but took note of the overall total.
Thanks for kind words and wisdom. I don't know how/if any of this will matter to me in 10-20 years, but I can tell you unequivocally that you gotta strike when the iron's hot. Why? Because things change unexpectedly for many, many reasons. Again, youknowdis. I might not have access to this property later this year. And, if I don't, I'll thank God for the opportunity I had, know I maximized the possibilities, and head out to Brighton Rec -- most likely with a different minimum goal! Life's weird like that.
It certainly could be the partially frozen swamp. Or just the wet in general -- lots of water in there the past few seasons. The last hunt I did on that property, I also had the neighbor running beagles through the swamp. If that's happening routinely, that might be a deterrent. I know they didn't chase any deer to me that night, anyway. I saw a rabbit, three dogs and 4 humans though.
FWIW, preliminarily a combined acreage of ~410 (6 properties including my 2) killed 35 doe and 2 bucks. I personally killed a 5.5 yo buck and 3 doe and found a 4th doe that I salvaged which wasn't included in the 35 listed above.
The other buck is believed to be 3.5 yo, and no bbs killed in the doe tally to my knowledge.
Keeping in mind attraction of destinations in varied seasons can put a majority of a local herd on one site , and by studying over the course of months of observation your group can get rough estimates.
Your friends seeing 30 is a lot. But not if those were the sum of deer in thier range congregated , vs there's 90 deer in the neighborhood.
Don't know how rare it is , but have seen a rare instance where all "the" deer piled into the same spot one early season evening the first year I owned the adjacent property.
Without comparing notes with others , I'd have thought there were a lot of deer in the area.
As numbers have declined every year since I always consider the whys of that one evening.
Though the reason became more obvious when habitat changed there due to the prior "worker" stopping his effort. And it was not to my knowledge deliberately done for deer.
Rather for a former hobby of an engineer.
Still , there was a terrain/geo feature directing traffic. Folks did hunt it , but those deer made sure it was clear that evening. No surprise there.
40% kill rates on doe to keep a neutral recruitment or even keel , depends on your fawn survival rates.
How many of the older type bucks can you support/achieve on your hunting properties?
On the co-op?
I suppose we're actively conducting that investigation. I don't know. I would guess we have been hunting one 4YO+ buck each of the past 5 years. Maybe. It's difficult to say for sure because we don't have any, ANY, buck teeth that indicate 4YO or older. We killed 1 that I suspect was 4, but didn't get to see the jaw. Last year, one of the Co-Op friends killed a buck that was likely 4YO by jaw bone. This year, another one killed that presumed 5YO buck I had my eye on (I haven't seen the jaw on that one). So, that's just a few.
I think we're hunting a handful of 3YOs each year. I don't even know how to reliably identify 2YO bucks. Some seem pretty obvious, but there are only a handful of them, too. Which doesn't make sense because you'd expect the age structure to be pyramid-shaped with oldest on top. I am suspicious that some of them are small enough in the antlers that they are mistaken for yearlings. We capture a relatively high number of unique yearling bucks every year on the three properties.
The teeth I've sent in for CA aging all came back 3YO. And they are smaller than what is commonly considered a "3YO" by the trail cam crowd. That's fine. We're just hunting bucks with smaller antlers-at-age than others. Based on my records, anyway. I can live with that. It would be problematic to believe the hype and keep waiting for a "3.5" like on the QDMA billboard. Might never see one. Might think the hunting stinks. Might think "they" need to change things. I digress.
Based on the feedback I receive, there is a small core in the Co-Op that is interested in details discussed in this thread. Very small. But I think it's scalable. Many more are interested in hunting bigger bucks. How many can the landscape hold? I have no idea. I'm not even sure how to judge that. Maybe once sightings increase up to a certain age threshold, but then those bucks disappear (and no one knows what happened to them), indicating further dispersal or expansion of their range, in search of desired habitat or relief from social stress?
Ability to gather all this intel depends mightily on the communication network. I've absolutely got to keep working on that and making the sharing of information the glue that holds this all together.
You've peaked my interest, I'll keep an eye out to see if you get the all the answers.
Best of luck
Now for the meat and potatoes behind your co-op.
What is the co-op's plans for addressing disease concerns?
Does the co-op have a mission statement? Does it reference advancing the age structure of bucks or disease management? Where would the priority lie with this bunch if it came down to an either/or given where I think you stand with respect to the knowledge base on disease management?
Will the co-op stress the need to test and monitor deer in the area, even if it means inconveniently having to send samples out of state?
Since the best available science says to target entire family groups and yearling bucks, will that be impressed upon the members?
Will you impress upon the landowner the need for sharpshooters to be on the property if it is deemed that you are in a CWD hotspot, given the apparent density of deer?
You have now have my interest....
Dean do you stress yourself out about covid as much as you do about cwd?? Your blood pressure must be through the roof??
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My guess is that you have not kept up on the thread.
I was invited to participate in this thread by LL.....specifically with respect to disease mitigation efforts.
I also will say that I do appreciate your concern over my health. I am glad somebody does.
The mission which I feel is most applicable to our efforts, and everyone seems to align with (so far), is "To help hunters make better-informed harvest decisions through education and sharing experiences". No, the mission does not include any commentary about advancing age or disease management. I think the mission needs to be much broader than that, to allow for shifting priorities over time. Age, disease, antlerless harvest, etc. would be communicated and motivated through annual goal-setting. I wrote some goals to share at the first meeting. There were no new goals for the 2020 season (published), mainly because we did not have the opportunity to meet in person and discuss, but also because I was felt putting my effort into growing the group was sufficient. There's a thread about the Co-op, if you want to read more.
Then you drift off into hypotheticals and "they"s again. The collective is made up of individuals. Individuals always make decisions in the moment of truth. "They"s do not. As a organizer of information and primary communication node for this group, all I can do is educate and encourage. If you've been in the workforce for any length of time, you know you can't make anyone do anything. They are either going to engage in the process or remove themselves from it. So, I cannot speak with where the priority lies for a "bunch". I know that I will continue communicating information aligned with the mission and engage as many in that process as possible. And we don't have every hunter or property owner in the region currently involved, so that is an obvious gap.
The "Co-Op" does nothing. Individuals do. You can find that some of us worked to get a CWD drop box located conveniently within driving distance last year to motivate just that. Of course, that died this year. I will admit, I did not stress the need to test and monitor this year, because of the sweeping changes that were made pretty late in the game. I guess my priorities lied elsewhere at that time. The information and instructions to do so were readily available to the public, however, and Wild Bill did share a Freep article just before early archery season to notify us all in Three Echo that the DNR decided not to test as many deer. Again, action from an engaged individual! Love it. Your last statement is loaded. I had a friend of mine drive a sample to the testing lab in Lansing the other day. He works there so it wasn't inconvenient for me. I mean, I had money budgeted for CA aging that didn't get used , so I figured ordering the test was the next best thing . Once the process is complete, I will share it with the rest of the Co-op so that they are familiar with it for next season. Is that virtuous enough for you? Or should "they" have done something else?
I am familiar with the "best available science", but it's always felt over-simplified to me, so I sit here skeptical. Maybe I need to try and communicate directly with one of the experts to get a better understanding how they drew those conclusions. Once disease is established, will I change my mindset? Perhaps. I've thought quite a bit about how I would respond if the herd I'm hunting is diseased in a big way. I don't know how I feel about that or what I'd do. As far as the second question goes, do you think I was joking about the farmer saying "kill 'em all"? I don't need to help him get there, in mindset. I suppose I could arrange for it to happen if the conclusion is that a population which produces 6 deer per hunt is in need of sharpshooters. I haven't seen anyone take that position. If I hadn't missed that one shot with my bow, I would have told you "he already did". Dang.
Of course you're interested now. You took an original post that included an actual data set with a prompt to share thoughts on what an individual should do and twisted into a series of hypotheticals about what a nebulous entity should do. Right up your alley!
You're on facebook, right? (presumably to watch the NRC meetings, at a minimum)
I'll PM you the link to our Co-Op so you can start flexing some "do-er" muscles with those on the front lines.
With looking back from the beginning of C.W.D, plan application to today....While not in Labs area , I'd rather have had the perimeter of crude "average " deer range (extending out from my hunt site) and it's interior on the same page as far as education and communication.
Yes , participation is on individual levels. And they vary.
Can't push a rope , (well we could wet it and freeze it first . but that's not cooperation) .
But knowing what the properties a half mile away are doing (within reason ) in terms of kill goals and why , can be handy.
My case (far removed from Livingston co-op) had/has me as the wild card.
Meaning , one property adjacent takes no doe. Which , allows doe to exist. And allow me a target some years.
Another about a quarter mile away , a deer better not show itself in daylight.
Was a year following too much enthusiasm in participation in reduction I passed all of the few deer.
What has been obvious is that there is a greater lag in understanding numbers and herd size and composition pre season each year as individuals vs a group.
Yes , folks are keeping tab all summer and more importantly nearer season when summer ranges shift toward fall...But communicating goals would not just keep folks nearer to being on the same page , it would have a bit better influence (depending on cooperation in participation) of future years hunting.
I get lucky how things kind of balance out. But it would take very little to change my luck.
Like any of the four properties bordering mine to lean on doe.
As few kill doe , those in range who do have definitely reduced them substantially.
Not a bad thing. Yet if everyone tried to the same year , the following year would be thin gravy. And how long beyond? Any one property in my case could make the difference.
So , if Lab is not steering /pushing ropes , that does not mean networking and communicating and sharing info/education is not valuable in management.
It's knowing what participants are striving for as goals , even if they differ from any individual ,or groups goal.
Were I a member of Labs group , the twentieth time I spoke of fawn value as recruits and balance beyond , and where those recruit numbers should be I'd be about done , except for calling my kill goal for a given season based on what exists and goal within the spectrum of the whole group. And an example would not fit the actual goins ons in a given herd and more importantly it's hunters and landowners until all data is in.
Does it need to be precise? Heck no. But it would likely be better than flying solo on intel.
We network a bit here. But the lag time is real.
We react to last years leftover deer this year. Without having been in any understanding (that's no unanimous agreement which is not expected anyways) the previous year of who's targeting what and why when looking ahead to this years deer herd.
Yes I have read the whole thread. Not one word about cwd in the title. Hmmmm. And yes I do worry about people with severe cases of tunnel vision. It’s unhealthy.
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